Henry McCullough

Band members                             Related acts

- Henry McCullough (aka 2016) -- vocals, guitar


  supporting musicians (1975)

- Steve Chapman -- drums

- John Halsey -- drums

- Charlie Harrison -- bass

- Tim Hinkley -- keyboards

- Herschel Holden -- trumpet

- Neil Hubbard -- guitar

- Lionel Kingham -- sax

- Jim Leverton -- bass

- Frankie Miller -- vocals

- Bruce Rowlands -- drums

- Joe O'Donnell -- violin
 - Lloyd Smith -- sax

- Alan Spenner -- bass

- Mick Weaver -- keyboards




- Chips

- Dr. Feelgood

- Eire Apparent

- Gene and the Gents

The Grease Band

- The Hard Travellers

- Roy Harper and Black Sheep

- Paul McCartney and Wings

- The Frankie Miller Band

- The People

- The Sky Rockets

- Spooky Tooth

- Sweeney's People







Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Mind Your Own Business!

Company: Dark Horse

Catalog: SP-22005

Year: 1975

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Country/State: Portstewart, Northern Ireland

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $35.00


There are so many talented musicians who never seem to get past sidemen.  True, some are interested in retaining their 'guns for hire' anonymity.  On the other hand, there are plenty willing to do virtually anything for a shot at the spotlight.  While I don't know a great deal about Henry McCullough, he seems to have been a talented musician content to have fallen somewhere between the two extremes.

Born and raised in Northern Ireland, McCullough cut his musical chops playing in various Irish show bands including The Skyrockets and backing South African singer Dushie Chetty in Gene and the Gents.  His first brush with commercial success came as an early member of Eire Apparent.  Unfortunately McCullough was fired from the band after he was busted on a drug charge while touring the States as an opening act for The Animals.  He was replaced by Mick Cox when Eire Apparent recorded their 1968 album.  After a brief stint with the folk band Sweeney's Men.   By the late'-60s he was living in London which brought him into contact with singer Joe Cocker.  Supporting Cocker led to formation of The Grease Band.  While The Grease Band managed to record several well received albums, they achieved little commercial success and by the early-'70s McCullough was invited to play in one of Paul McCartney's first Wings line ups - his solo on the single 'My Love' is stunning.  The collaboration proved fairly brief, McCullough quitting the band shortly before they started recording sessions for 1973's "Band On the Run."


Given McCullough's Paul McCartney connection, it was interesting that his solo debut would be released by George Harrison's newly formed Dark Horse label.  Co-produced by McCullough and John Jansen, 1975's "Mind Your Own Business!" found the artist working with an extended collection of friends, including Frankie Miller (check out his performance on "I'm In Heaven"), bassist Alan Spenner, and keyboardist Mick Weaver. Admittedly, McCullough's nasally voice wasn't any great shakes.  At best you could label him a competent if largely anonymous vocalist.  On material such as "Sing Me a Song" he reminded me of a zonked out Keith Richards, or Ron Wood.  Luckily, McCullough proved a surprisingly accomplished writer. Originals such as 'You'd Better Run', 'I Can Drive a Car' and the reggaefied 'Baby What You Do To Me' made for a low-keyed and surprisingly enjoyable collection. Imagine something out of a Richards' or Wood's solo catalog and you'll be in the right neighborhood.   Maybe because my expectations were so low, or maybe due to the fact McCullough seemed so dedicated to these tunes, his enthusiasm frequently compensated for vocal and other limitations giving frequently giving the collection a warm, enjoyable feel - imagine a bunch of drunk buddies enjoying each others company on a cold, beer soaked Saturday evening.  Unfortunately, in spite of generally favorable reviews, the set went nowhere.

"Mind Your Own Business" track listing:

(side 1)

1. You'd Better Run  (Henry McCullough) - 4:13   rating: **** stars

'You'd Better Run' opened up the album with a tasty little rocker that introduced McCullough's nasally voice.  Yeah, it was certain an acquired taste, but after a couple of beers, the melody was so strong and propulsive, you could overlooked McCullough's vocal limitations.  He also turned in a nice solo.
2. Sing Me A Song  (Henry McCullough) - 3:25 
  rating: ** stars

A good blues singer needs a certain type of voice and delivery.  In spite of having the desire, judging by the ballad 'Sing Me A Song' McCullough wasn't one of those folks. His guitar work was stellar on this one, but the vocal was ragged; sounding like he was slowly choking on his own bile.   
3. I Can Drive A Car  (Henry McCullough) - 4:41 
  rating: **** stars

The opening studio chatter always makes me smile ("It doesn't have to be in tune for this number.") and then the bouncy 'I Can Drive A Car' revealed itself to be pleasantly in tune.  This was one of those tracks where McCullough's vocal limitations didn't make any difference.  One of the album's highlights.
4. Baby What You Do To Me   (Henry McCullough) - 5:33 
  rating: **** stars

Usually white artists dipping their toes into reggae don't do much for me.  I'll be the first to tell you 'Baby What You Do To Me' wasn't anything earth shattering, but there was something charming about McCullough's ragged, barely in-tune stab at the genre.  Yea, parts of it were like listening to your cat screaming they didn't like the food selection, but it was still charming. 
5. Country Irish Rose  (Henry McCullough) - 3:18 
  rating: * star

The first true misstep, 'Country Irish Rose ' was a bland, derivative country ballad.  Ironically, the genre suited McCullough's limited voice better than rock.


(side 2)

1. Lord Knows  (Henry McCullough) - 4:08   rating: **** stars

The album's biggest surprise, the country-tinged rocker 'Lord Knows' didn't even sound like McCullough - I'm mean it does sound like McCullough, but his vocals were strong and self-assured.  Easily the album's standout performance.
2. Down The Mine  (Henry McCullough) - 6:07 
rating: *** stars

The album's longest track, 'Down the Mine' was a dark, depressing tune with violinist Joe O'Donnell adding a folk-edge to it.
3. Oil In My Lamp  (Henry McCullough) - 2:21 
  rating: ** sta

I've never understood Irish affection for country music and 'Oil In My Lamp' did nothing to help me figure it out.

4.) Mind Your Own Business  (Henry McCullough) - 3:59  rating: *** stars

Another breezy, slightly country-tinged rocker, the title track served to capture the album's strengths and weaknesses.  There wasn't a single original note or thought on the track, but the performance was warm and engaging ...  imagine a Guinness drenched studio jam.  
5. I'm In Heaven  (Henry McCullough) - 1:32 
rating: *** stars

Musically it was little more than a song fragment, but simply because it featured Frankie Miller on discrete second lead vocal, 'I'm In Heaven' was one of the album highlights.  Docked a star for being so short and not giving Miller more of a spotlight.


With the album becoming an instant obscurity, McCullough returned to sessions and sideman status, supporting a slew of acts, including Marianne Faithful and Roy Harper.  In the mid-'80s he returned to his native Ireland.  An accident where a knife severed one of the tendons in his hand almost left him debilitated, but after several years of therapy he resumed playing guitar with small local groups.  My the early-'90s he'd also resumed recording, releasing a couple of CDs in Poland (!!!).  Don't ask, I've never heard any of his latter material.


In November 2012 McCullough suffered a massive heart attack.  He survived the heart attack, but never recovered and died at home in June 2016. (in spite of the BBC reporting he had died), Naturally, there are a number of websites devoted to the guitarist.  Among the best: www.henrymccullough.com/